On September 20, the open-source investigative team Bellingcat and the news website The Insider published the second part of their report on Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, the suspected Russian intelligence officers accused by Great Britain of trying to assassinate former double agent Sergey Skripal with a nerve agent in Salisbury. Both Petrov and Boshirov say they were in Salisbury at the time of the poisoning merely as tourists. According to data released by Bellingcat and The Insider, the two men’s passport numbers differ only slightly from each other and from other suspected GRU agents, suggesting that the documents were issued in a special series. Now a news outlet in St. Petersburg has published evidence that the passport numbers tie the Salisbury suspects to a wider web of suspected GRU agents.
The Bellingcat/Insider report highlights the case of Eduard Shirokov (Shishmakov), whom Montenegro accuses of trying to orchestrate a coup in 2016. According to The Insider, “[Petrov and Boshirov] had passport numbers ending in 294 and 297, while another previously exposed GRU agent, Eduard Shirokov (Shishmakov), had a passport ending in 323, meaning that their passport numbers were separated by just 25 and 28 slots, respectively.”
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